Privacy Rights and the Marketing of Confidential Medical Information: Questions and Answers on the Case of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) v. Albertsons

Albertsons collects its customers’ confidential medical information by surreptitiously reviewing customer prescriptions - required to be kept confidential and used only as authorized by the patient - and creates a retrievable database including customer addresses, phone numbers and drug regimen. The information is made available for use to satisfy pharmaceutical companies willing to pay Albertsons to fulfill drug marketing objectives. The result is unsolicited mailings and/or phone calls directed at consumers attempting to convince them to buy more or different medications.

Spam E-mails Using PRC's Address

It has come to our attention that spammers have been using the email address to send fake emails (spam). These emails do NOT come from PRC. They are forgeries. They will show the sender as a fake person that is NOT affiliated with PRC. The address will appear as

Financial Privacy Notices: Do They Really Want You to Know What They're Saying?

"Because we value your privacy.. we may sell your personal financial information." Does this make sense? Of course, not. But, that is precisely the message many banks and other financial companies are now sending to their customers. However, this message -- blurred by fine print, big words, long sentences and marketing jargon -- is far from clear.

Consumers in West Coast States Can Get Free Credit Reports Starting December 1, 2004

Beginning December 1, 2004, consumers living in the western U.S. will have the right to order a free copy of their credit report thanks to a new federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, adopted by Congress in 2003. Consumers elsewhere in the nation will get the same right over the next year as the law is phased in across the country. By requiring credit reporting bureaus to provide free credit reports annually upon request, the new law enables consumers to more readily monitor if they are victims of identity theft or if their credit reports contain errors.

Federal Trade Commission Releases Web Site and Phone Number for Free Credit Reports

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released information about the phone number, web site and mail-in form that consumers can use to order their free annual credit reports. Free annual credit reports will be rolled out starting on the West Coast beginning December 1, 2004, and ending in September 2005 on the East Coast.

The ChoicePoint Data Security Breach (Feb. '05): What It Means for You

Data aggregators compile in-depth dossiers of personal information on almost everyone, even though many have never heard of them, have never had an account with them, nor have given them permission to obtain personal information. Until recently, many Americans had never heard of ChoicePoint, one of the largest data aggregators. But with recent information coming to light that identity thieves opened 50 accounts to access ChoicePoint’s databases of personal information, many people are just realizing that companies like ChoicePoint exist.

Poll: 91% Voter Support For Financial Privacy Initiative

A public opinion poll commissioned by the Consumer Federation of California Education Foundation found overwhelming voter support for a ballot initiative to protect the privacy of consumer financial information. After hearing a battery of arguments against the initiative, voter support stood at 91 per cent. The poll found no significant difference in support by party affiliation or income level.

It's Back-to-School Time: Parents, Do You Know Where Your Child's School Records Are?

The PRC advises parents to pay close attention to documents and forms that students bring home from school. Among them is likely to be an opt-out form regarding the disclosure of students' education records. But if the parent does not sign the form instructing the school to NOT disclose the student's personal information to others, the school is free to release "directoy information." Directory information is NOT a small category. It can include the student's name, address, phone number, and date of birth, as well as major field of study, activities and sports, weight and height if on athletic teams, dates of attendance, and degrees and awards.

Planning a Summer Vacation? Be a Privacy-Smart Traveler

Identity theft is often a crime of opportunity. Don’t be a vacationer who presents a crook with that opportunity. Your personal information, credit and debit cards, driver’s license, passport, and other personal information are the fraudster’s target. A few minutes spent planning before you travel can help reduce the risk that a fraudster will ruin your vacation. Read this alert for tips to help you avoid any nasty surprises.


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